In today’s Ole an interview with Lionel Messi.
Q – You’re always asked if you’ve become used to being pointed out as Maradona’s successor? But have you gotten used to being Messi?
M – Yes, the truth is I’ve become used to it. I deal with it calmly. When I leave the stadiums I live like a normal kid, like an average kid. People say Hello but I try to do what I always have. Sometimes, not everything I would like to do but I try not to deprive myself of anything. I go out with other kids, with friends, family.
Q – If 5 years ago someone told you that all these things would be happening to you, would you have said that they’re crazy?
M – (Laughs) I didn’t expect something like this, nobody does in reality. Everything happened very fast. My debut with Barcelona, the Champions League, becoming World Champion with the U-20 team, playing in the 2006 World Cup. Everything fast. The majority of those things were beautiful, except the injuries, that turned out to be unimportant things.
Q – The truth: your dad can reprimand you like any other kid or is it difficult because you are Messi?
M – No, if he has to say something to me, he does. I want to be just like any other kid. That’s why I would love to go to the Olympics, it must be real good to share things with other athletes. Right now, I have 3 tournaments under way with Barcelona, afterwards I would like to end the season in Beijing. I don’t give it any importance when they say that it is a Dream Team and things like that.
Q – You will be there with Riquelme. Do you prefer for him to always be there or would you like take over the leadership on the team?
M – When all the best players are there, it is better for me and for everyone. This U-23 can build a really good team, with great players, who’ve been playing professionally for a long time and play well. If we’re all there, it is the national team that wins. And I feel that shirt like it’s mine. That is why I always want to be there. That’s why I would have liked to have travelled to play against Guatemala but I was calm because an agreement was reached quickly with my
club due to my injury.
Q – Has Basile been what you expected? Before he took over as manager were you hopeful because of his offensive style?
M – I liked it and I’m thankful for the freedom he gives me every time I play with the national team. He’s always given me his trust, he told me to play calmly, free.
Q – Would you like to play in Boca or River before returning to Newell’s?
M – In either team. Mostly because I would like to experience Argentine football, the fans, the atmosphere before every game. I never had that luck and I do not want to miss out on that.
Q – Are there any bitter feelings towards River? You tried out there but had to leave because the club wouldn’t pay for the growth hormone treatments.
M – Yes, that’s what happened, but it’s over with. I couldn’t stay because of the cost of the treatments, the transfer belonged to Newell’s but I’m not bitter at all. Absolutely not.
Q – Look, now La Bruja Veron is going to try to bring you to Estudiantes.
M – (Laughs) It’s true. He’s treated me really well. The month that we spent during the Copa America he helped me fit in with the team. Just like in the World Cup, I was alone, because I don’t usually talk alot. But that’s why La Bruja was by my side, he was very important and I always thanked him.
Q – Anyhow, it appears that you are going to stay all your life with Barcelona.
M – I want to stay a long time with Barcelona. That is my idea, my intention. No one knows what can happen but that is my wish. I owe alot to Barcelona and for me, to remain there the rest of my life is a way of paying back.
Q – The necessary question: Do you believe that one day you’ll be like Maradona or that he is unrepeatable?
M – I don’t think there’ll be another one like Maradona. I hope that Argentina continues to produce great players but like Diego, it is very difficult.